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^% 1THE 

Gleaner 



mA 



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Gleaner 

established 1901 

Deleware Valley College of Science and Agriculture 
Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901 

Spring 1981 




Editors 




Contributors 


Lorraine Gerus 


Jill Bitner 


Leah Brindley 


Scott Abrams 


Linda Hahn 






Jill Bitner 


Gabe Hanson 


Staff 




Leah Brindley 


Joann Hawk 




Linda Hahn 


Terri Domagela 


Karen Kerner 


Tillie Docalovich 


Wanda Perugini 


Graig Edgerton 


Michael Kriebel 


Gail Garthwaite 


Dan Schwalm 


Helen Fitting 


Janet L. Kruckow 


Lorraine Gerus 


Jane Smrallie 


D.M. Fosbrook 


Wanda M. Perugini 






Edward Gavin 


Carl Vivaldi 


Artwork 

Leah Brindley 


Linda Hahn 
Leslie Mainwald 


Photography 




Victoria Geiler 


Wanda Perugini 


Janet Graham 


Nancy Schnetzer 


Brenda Giveler 


Sharon Raab 


Lisa Merklein 


Dan Schwalm 



Cover by Nancy Schnetzer 



I 

Am a person within myself 
Loving and hating, 
Laughing and crying, 
Content and angry, 
All at once. 

If only 
I could divorce myself 

and become 
Just loving, laughing and content. 
But I cannot. 
Tor life does not call 
Tor eternal happiness 
One must hate 
To know the glory of love, 
One must cry 

To find the joys of laughter 
And one must have anger 
To experience contentment. 
— Wanda M- Verugini 



>ki/s in morning 
ing 
(he gull into flight 
<pected thunder 
Throws the course asutn 

iht 

t high >. 

moon 



Worlds Overlap 

by Helen Fitting 

Born to discover the world of nature, 

she wandered amid woody green forests, and bright flowers. 

A passing buck stopped to stare with beautiful wild eyes, 

then passed silently out of sight. 

She sat on a grey lichened rock pondering nature's cyclic existance. 

while a handful of damp leaf mulch sifted through her fingers, 

exuding a faint earth-scent of nutritive decay. 

A newt filled stream bubbled over rose quarts crystals, 

and sparkled entrancingly into her eyes. 

All natures forms, shapes, colors, and motions became entwined 
in the jumbling, tumbling stream. 
Glistening sunlit reflections blended into intense whiteness 

with opalescent hues 

Understanding became clear 

Later she sought to discover the world of ftumans. 

Loneliness, sorrow, pleasure, anger, calmness, each dwelt in her spirit. 

as each strove for dominance. 

Again she turned to the mirroring waters of her native stream for guidance, 

and when she knelt over the passing brook to drink of its wisdom, 

she saw her reflection shifting into reflections of every persons face 

that every existed. 

Every age, every emotion, every expression rippled together. 

And her dark pupils filled with shining lights as pains, joys, sorows 

and fears fused into a brilliant opalescence 

Understanding became clear 

Worlds Overlap 



Dreamer 

Let me fall in love with a dreamer; 

the others never understand 

what it is like to be 

with your heart lost at sea 

and your feet never left the sand. 

Tell me what it means to be 

totally open, alive, and free . . . 

I have loved my share of vagabonds 

and more than my share of prep raised men. 

I've slept on the beach 

and high class prom did reach, 

but they're the same in the end. 

Vagabonds' drug escape reality. . . 
Proper men corrupt society. . . 

Let me fall in love with a dreamer 

who will forever understand. 

We'd cherish the sun 

climbing tall trees for fun, 

and we'd speak by just holding hands. 

fire and hot cider fit for my king . . . 

Make love among the wild flowers come spring . 

See the Greatest gift God has Given' 

the capacity to love each other. 

Please just accept me; 

together we'll be free; 

like you there'll never be another. 

So I wish upon the stars above 

my dreamer comes and shares all his love. 

Karen Kcrnrr 




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Little dark eyes 

In a cherubic face. 

Impish grin, 

Hair always out of place. 

Little fat cheeks 
And pointed little nose. 
Chubby hands 
And fleshy little toes. 

Never grow up 

My tiny little elf, 

Stay a doll 

And sit here on my shelf. 

Laugh while you play 

And sing yourself to sleep 

Huny not, 

Your dreams will always keep. 

Wanda M. Perugini 



Dribble 

Sniff 

Need a tissue? 

Need a cry? 

Shoulder here 

Holding and comforting 

As the lonely tears run down my face 

There once was a time when that solitary 

tear would have brought the words "baby" 

Now the tears bring to mind the word woman. 

The emotions have matured 

Love has let us mature together 

Love has let me cry. 

Jill Bitner 



Little boy 

running on the hillsides 
soaking in the sunshine 

learning the beauty of silence 

Little boy 

camping in the mountians 
seeking inner silence 

finding trouble and turmoil 

Little boy 

growing up in nature 
growing up with solitude 
needing time alone. 

Little boy 

take your time to grow up 
don't grow up too fast 
stay a little boy . . . forever. 

Jill Bitner 



The Population of My Childhood — No. 1: 
Plain Jane 

Throwing a body-block in rough touch or whacking a sponge ball 
half a block down the street to the railrood during an endless box- 
ball game, Jane easily intimidated all of us. I guess I wasn't any 
more scared of her than anybody else was, but at the age of twelve I 
believed that I was: she really terrified me. Also, she was sixteen. I 
didn't even try to stay on her good side; just out of sight. When she 
was around the neighborhood — luckily, not too often — she was 
the center of the gang, and I perched somewhere on the safe outer 
perimeter. 

Even from a distance, striding across a block-wide, weedy, junky 
lot at the other end of our street, Jane was unmistakable. The pitch 
of her shoulders, the bounce in her walk warned of her approach, 
hearing the street, Jane's uniform left little doubt that she was not 
to be messed with: spotless dungarees rolled to just above the 
ankles; thick, snowy-white socks in brown loafers; a dungaree jacket 
with its collar turned up: white T-shirt; and short-for-a-girl brown hair 
combed carefully into an admirable pompador and d.a. 
combination. Cool and tough. A firm, steady stride reverberated on 
the cement sidewalk: she wore fifty-cent cleats on the heels of her 
loafers and twenty-five cent ones on the toes. I dreaded her 
approach. 

Once, moved by some lunatic impulse I guess, I urged several 
kids to charge down the street with threatening yells to where Jane 
was approaching. As I recall, she was supposed to feel menaced by 
this screaming onslaught (I had seen a movie in which the 
Saracens had successfully used such a strategy). Drunk with my 
own daring, I led the charge right toward Jane, and I remember with 
what complete ease she dispatched me and defused everybody 
else. With a slight croaching down and turn to the right as well as a 
gentle, well-timed movement forward, she centered her left shoulder 
into my gut, sending me sprawling with the wind knocked out of my 
sails — literally. It was just so easy for her to do. 



Jane's prowess at the things street kids admired was epic. More 
than anything, her pinball technique was a marvel. Like a well- 
travelled trucker, she drove the pinball machine in the back room of 
Roxie and Carmen's Polish-American Candy Store. We stood 
around feeding on penny candy — green leaves and Mary Janes 
mostly — as well as Wise Potato Chips, drinking Sweetie Beverage's 
orange soda. The main attraction on some occasions was Jane; my 
outer perimeter there was feigned disinterest. Powerfully, but with 
expert delicacy, Jane racked up free game after free game. Flips, 
dings, flickering diamonds of light, clicks, and the flat, unmelodic 
"PLACK" of another free game scored — all of this dazzled us. 
Everything came to an end one Friday night when Roxie threw all of 
us out and kept tilting the machine to get all the free games off the 
score board. She swore we had been cheating her. Enraged and 
righteous — Jane had won the games fairly — we vowed to switch 
our trade to Joe Weiss' Pharmacy. Jane, however, was totally 
unmoved. Much later in my life, I learned to call that "grace under 
pressure." 

All this, I guess, is by the way. What prompts me to recall Jane's 
toughness, her skill, and my own early fears is an event that 
dispelled the charm — loosely speaking — she had cast on us. 
Jane had disappeared for a few months. Nobody talked; nobody 
knew. One late spring afternoon, sunny and breezy, I stood on my 
front porch waiting for some playing or kids to materialize. Not until 
she was just about in front of me did I notice her: Jane the prom 
queen. Half-belligerent, half-apologetic Jane grinned. "Get a load of 
this," she laughed, "-all dolled up for the prom tonight." Somewhere 
inside me was howling laughter; it could not emerge. As if on stilts, 
she gingerly made her way down the street, her feet pinched into 
satin high-heels dyed pink to match her voluminous strapless 
evening dress. Across her shoulders and wrapped around her 
forearms was about three yards of netting. Her beaded bag swung 
idiotically from her hand as she tried to keep her balance. The 
corsage of tiny pink rosebuds had worked its way to the wrong side 
of her wrist and caught on one of the layers of stiff organdy. Amidst 
all this finery was the slickly plain pompador - d.a. Incomplete in 
that way, her transformation seemed hilarious. 

Above all else about her that day, Jane's face, her look, stares at 
me from the picture gallery of my memory. In an instant her grin 
told me she thought herself laughable but still warned me not to 
laugh. For the first time, the only time, I saw Jane unsure of herself, 
trying out girlishness. In that moment she became much less 
formidable, certainly vulnerable, and I no longer resented her. 
Edward Gavin 



Things You Can Do in Your Room. 

. . . dance around clothes, 
miss a step, 
and not have to laugh at yourself. 

. . . look at stupid pictures of yourself 
and like them. 

. . . daydream yourself to sleep. 

. . . scratch anywhere you want. 

. . . imitate your posters 

and go straight into a "Concert". 

. . . lau halfway on your bed 
and slowly slide off. 

. . . yawn nut loud. 

. . . just be yourself. 

( art Vivaldi 



I have a mouth like an oboe 

and my body resembles a tank 
My bad moods break through sometimes 

then I lower in rank. 
I tend to be louder than W people all combined. 
My rowdy nature is somewhat crude, I 

seldom act refined. 
People tend to accept me because I do the same 
And when I make a fool of myself I must 

accept the blame. 
Jill Bitner 




Vagabond 

Some people adore "well-cultured'* roses 

with perfect proper exactness. 

But I prefer to fondle wildflowers 

radiating true natural beauty. 

The rose's stiff stem is choked by weeds 

while wild flowers thrive even in dry, 

rocky soil among the twines. 

That's why I love you . . . 

You're uninhibited like a wildflower. 

Karen Kerner 




•• 



~ 1 WU ' 









Laugh 

Laugh — 

It releases those tiny knots 

Throughout your mind 

That pull and tear 

At your consciousness. 

Laugh — 

And slowly the joy 

Of life will come welling up 

Warmth soothing 

The edges of your soul. 

Laugh — 

The burden of cares 

Drops off your heart 

And falls into 

Insignificance. 

Laugh — 

It's infection draws 

Upon the lifeblood 

Of those around 

And returns, renewing. 

Laugh. 

Lorraine Gems 




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In the moon is seen a sadness 
The watcher of the night 
Knows the secrets of the darkness 
Not disclosed in the light 
Mystery in the shadows 
Can't avoid her pearly glow 
forgotten in the sunshine 
Bat the moon will always know 
And the stars will whisper 
}ier secrets as she wanes 
Even in the darkness 
The secrets do remain 
— Joann J-iawk 



Where will you run to 
When the road finally ends? 
You go in a straight line 
Ignoring the bends 
It can't go on forever, 
What your life's become 
The time has come to pay the debt 
For things you've left undone 
You're avoiding the feelings- 
Keep all emotion denied 
Your cool has turned to coldness- 
You've never cried 
One of these days 
You'll have to give in . . . 
What will you do 
when the road finally wins? 
— Joann Hawk 




Mind Erosion 

Dreams in a childproof cap 

Eradicate your worries with a capsule snap 

Time released visions obscure what is real 

Fade into oblivion-you've no ability to feel 

Or laugh 

Or smile 

Or cry 

A dairy dosage gets you by 

Sees you through the morning pain 

And takes what sanity remains 

The grasp is now beyond you, so you've come to find 

The harmony has faded with the erosion of your mind 

To late 

Too late to turn around, you can't erase the past 

Too late 

Too late to change your ways, the end is coming fast 

The earth revolves around you 

The tightening of the screw 

One fine day the lid will drop 

Then what will you do? 

— Joann Hawk 



A Man 

Creature of habit 

So routine 

The life he leads is so serene 

The life he leads is void of dreams 

It's early to bed 

And to rise 

Trapped in the cage he's devised 

Nothing escapes but his sighs 

Maybe it makes him 

Healthy, wealthy, and wise 

But what memory remains 

When the man dies? 

— Joann Hawk 



IGNORANCE 

Ignorance 

Surrounds us 

Like a blanket on an infant; 

Shielding and protecting us 

From the unknown. 

What the future will bring 

Is hidden in a vault 

Safe from greedy seekers. 

So we may hope for light 

When there is but darkness 

And pray for warmth 

When there is no heat. 

Encompassed by 

Deep faith, 

We trudge on; 

Not knowing, but trusting, 

Not seeking, but hoping — 

Believing that we 

Exercise unfaltering control 

Over predestined fates. 

Ignorance 

Surrounds us 

Like a blanket on an infant. 

Wanda M. Perugini 



Advanced 
Arthrodialism 

The crab is mostly exoskeleton 

Its countenance scares me to gelatin 

On sight of any carapace 

To turn and flee there's n'ar a place. 

With speed the mighty dactylus 
Transports the crab so tactyless. 
Professors warn it is behooving 
To lift your feet and toes while moving 
Across the sandy ocean floors 
Crustacean sites for podite wars. 

Appendages, pinnatery chelae 
A painful pinch these claws can relay, 
Barth's organ vibes sound from its merus 
Relentlessly not meant to "spare us" 
Gnlike the hymns in church cathedrals 
The crab hunts prey with tunes that he drills 

To me, the stridulation's odious, 
Yet Mulstay rates it more melodious. 
His partial verve for kin of cancer, 
Is not my favorite course enhancer. 
— Leah Brindley - - ... 




s\ r p r t dikd 





^?*~7fr /"~ v 


Taken? (; 




No. 




May I? 
Sure. 


will 


Thankyou. 
You're welcome. 




Sugar? 
Please. 




One pack? 
Two, 




thankyou. 
You're welcome. 




The time? 




4:30. 




No! 




Late? 




Yes! 




Tinish. . . 




Can't! 




Tomorrow? 




Yes. 




Till then. 




Good-bye. 




Linda J-l. JHahn 






/ 



Why's 

Lift* is 

A continual state of confusion. 
Unanswered why's 
Drift about like wispy clouds 
Present on even the sunniest of days. 
Why have things happened 
The way they have? 
And why are there no answers 
To the why's? 
There are so many things 
Clutterinq up my mind. 
I don 't understand 
Anything that has happened lately. 
One dark, tangled mass of strings 
And I am no good with knots 
I haven't the patience 
To sit here and try to free 
Each individual thread. 
And, if I did. 

Would that really he the key 
To my understanding? 
Someone once told me 
"J ifr has no because. " 

— Wanda M- f'rriu/mi 



Hard To Be Me 



As I sit in the morning light 
I can see your eyes twinkling, so very bright 
And I think of the love that was tender and dear 
Remembering now that you're not very near. 

Chorus: 

All my life it's been easy and free 
Then suddenly it's hard to be me 
Yes, all my life — I've been free 
Now I find it's hard to be me. 

The days are long ones — just waiting to hear 
If the love we had is still quite so clear 
Just sitting and waiting close by the phone 
And thinking of the day when you will come home. 

All my life it's been easy and free 
Then suddenly it's hard to be me 
Yes, all my life — I've been free 
Mow I find it's hard to be me. 





Your love is like the warm summer days, 

Which are kept warm and bright with your kind truthful ways 

My mind is full of memories of the past 

And hoping that our love will always last. 

As I lay back and look up at the stars 
I remind myself now the ends not very far 
Decisions are going to have to be made 
Before time's all over, and mem'ries just fade 

All my life it's been easy and free 
Then suddenly it's hard to be me 
Yes, all my life — I've been free 
Now I find it's hard to be me. 

But until nature takes me and sprinkle my ash 
They say you must "live life" and make a big smash 
And I'm not sure it's true for sometimes it's said 
Why not sleep your life away in a bed. . . 

All my life it's been easy and free 
Then suddenly it's hard to be me 
Yes, all my life — I've been free 
Now I find it's hard to be me. 

Well I know I don't make much sense 
But I think I have found 
The problem of a lifetime 
To make my head spin around. . . 

Lyrics by Craig Edgerton 




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It was an ordinary but incredible winter night, typical of all nature. The 
sun had not long ago slipped under the horizon, not to sleep, but to start 
a new day for another patch of earth. One last ray exerted all its remaining 
energy to pull the moon around, temporarily replacing the fire opal. The 
brilliance of the moon, a diamond, gave the entire peacock blue sky a 
shining glaze. Not alone for long, the diamond was soon joined by a 
random splash of tiny rhinestones of stars, which continued to increase 
as the sky darkened. The jewels, no longer illuminating the whole sky, 
shone their individual radiance against the black velvet cloth. Through a 
window, the moon's light was reflected in a cross shape, as if in tribute to 
its creator. Man, built with the greatest mind of all creatures on earth, 
learns some of the mechanics of nature, and boasts intelligence, yet still 
he leaves many of nature's wonders unexplained. Try though he can 
and ponder as he might, his finite mind can not explain infinity; theory 
after theory discounted, and estimate after estimate enlarged, yet nature 
remains, to baffle each succeeding generation of "intelligent" creatures. 
— Janet L. Kruckow 



Terminating Love 

The love between. 
The love that was shared 
ft as now forever 
Crumbled in despair. 

Eyes once saw 

Two visions as one. 

Lives were filled 

With the brilliance of the sun. 

But love seemed to weaken, 
It wasn't getting better. 
The love no longer 
Bonded two lives together. 

A new beginning, 
One must cope. 
The future destines 
Rejection, but also hope. 
Scott Abrams 



MEMORIES 

Memories woven in our lives 
Like the threads of a tapestry 
Each thread a remembrance. 

It seems like only yesterday, 
I remember well the past. 

Memories-aqed photographs of yesteryear 
A brief glimpse of days gone by, 
Hazy pictures fade with time. 

A tattered tapestry of lingering thoughts 

Of those you 've met, 

Those times so special 

And those whom you'll never forget. 

n M- Fosbrook 






'A 




Now in thy youth, beseech }iim 

Who giveth upbraiding not 
That Jiis light in thy heart become not dim, 

And }iis love be unforgot 
And thy God, in the darkest of days shall be 

Greenness, and beauty, and strength, to thee. 

Michael Kriebel 



Lovers may come and lovers may go, 

Because love very often dies, 

But when your lover is your best friend 

The love seems to sweeten day by day 

Sharing dreams, thoughts and countless good times 

Never fearing to laugh or cry around him 

Knowing there's no need to measure words 

I can be a child or a woman and still be accepted. 

The loving itself has a magical depth 

A touch or a look, says more than words could ever transmit 

My friend gives me space to grow and to be me. 

And if I need to be alone, he'll go 

Though never too far out of reach. 

}ie holds me and I feel secure 

There's a patience and understanding that others can't comprehend 

This relationship seems so easy 

There is little need for work or compromise 

Maybe this is the love that you can build on for a lifetime. 

I hope so because my Lover is my best friend. 

— Terri Domagela 



Slim McGuire 

The young boy's name was Slim McGuire 

Whose strange desire was starting fire 

This son of chief of firemen 

Was thought to be a terror when, 

He came to set your house aflame 

And then refused to take the blame. 

His father always trusted him 

And never wondered, where was Slim, 

While all this trouble did arise 

"Slim must be playing," he'd surmise. 

Until to Slims deserved unluck, 

He just was found beneath the truck 

Igniting the new fire hose, 

Directly under the chiefs nose. 

But to the citizen's amaze, 

Slims passion was just called a phase! 

— Leah Brindley 



Once again was that time of year when everything bursts into a 
world of green, warmth and beauty. When everyones' life is full of 
vim and vigor. Everyone crawls out of their caves of hibernation and 
comes alive into the world again. 

Tis the season of physical exercise, dieting and health assessment; 
all the fighting and sweating to have that "beautiful bod" look on 
the cover of COSMOPOLITAN. 

But then there are those few poor unfortunate souls that are 
plagued with a yearly upper respiratory infection. Those few are 
subjected to sticky-sheeted hot beds all day, bloating their body's 
with Nestea and Diet Pepsi. Yes, once again 1 was one of those poor 
unfortunate souls. 

During the winter months while everyone runs around sniffling 
with Marcals stuffed up their nostrils, 1 remain bone dry. But come 
the warm weather I become so congested that breathing can be a 
pure crucifixion. My sneezes are worse than a nuclear bomb 
explosion. Eyes watering, nose dripping, pulsating headache, all 
combined make me feel like a zombie. I walk around with a bottle of 
Bayer and a box of Marcal tissues; my trusty do-it-at-home first aid 
equipment. 

Every year I have the decision. Should I waste thirty bucks and go 
see a doctor so he can tell me to drink plenty of fluids and get 
plenty of of rest or say it to myself? I decided to visit our friendly 
family physician. 

I finally made it, driving behind my tissues, to the upper class 
neighborhood with rolling sod lawns and white gravel driveways. 
Ringing the bell 1 entered the side door. The fume of isopropyl 
alcohol cleared my nasal passages in a whiff. I sat down on an 
immaculate squeaky vinyl couch. Rummaging through a GOOD 
HOUSEKEEPING and SPORTS AFIELD I picked up a HGMPTY 
DCJMPTY and looked for the hidden carrots page. 

The nurse behind the counter gave me a dirty look and spoke, 
"The Doctor will be with you in a moment, MA'AM!" 

Down the hall some kid gave an ear-piercing yell. A chill ran up 
my spine. Obviously a hypodermic syringe victim. It brought back 
horrifying memories but I pushed them aside and concentrated on 
my carrot hunt. 

Finally the nurse led me down the hall to a small examination 
room. I glanced up at the Hippocratic Oath framed on the wall. 
Humph! What duty to mankind? It was all for the money. 

The nurse placed a card on the desk, pointed to my shoes and 
said, "I'll do your weight and height now before the doctor comes." 

WEIGHT! How I hate that word. She couldn't weigh me now, not 
after I crawled out of my cave of hibernation! It wasn't fair. I hadn't a 
chance to lose any winter buldge yet! 



I was afraid to look standing on that devilish machine. I tried 
several attempts at holding my breath hoping that more air in my 
body would make me lighter like a balloon. But my face got red and 
I began gasping for air. I had to make a sound like a fake cough 
when she looked at me and said, "You alright?" Then she yelled out 
my weight so everyone in the whole building could hear. 

After taking my height she made me sit on the crackly papered 
examination table. She departed and I was left to infect the room for 
the next victim. 

Soon the doctor entered. Eyeing my card with experienced 
bifocals he told me I hadn't had a checkup in a year. 'Til just give 
you one now. You get this problem every year?" 

"Yeah." 
"Stuffy nose?" 

"Yeah." 
"Sore throat, cough?" 

"Yeah." 
"Eyes bothering you?" 

"Yeah." He had my whole life diagnosed on that little white card. 
Why did I even bother coming when he could of just examined the 
card. 

Reaching into a ancient white drawer, he pulled out an odoscope 
and stuck it in my ear. I knew I should of cleaned the wax out 
before I came. I could just picture the instrument getting stuck in 
there. He came close, breathing his hot anticepitic breath on my 
neck Then he reversed his tactics and hit my other side. 

Ramming an oversized popsicle stick down my throat, he 
depressed my tongue. It tasted so woody. Finished with the 
instrument, he tossed it into the precautionary sanitation devise. 

Placing the ice cold stethoscope on my back he made me breath. 
All the while the crinkly paper crinkled. 

Handing me a smaller beaker he said, "Here, I'll need a sputum 
sample," and left the room. 

A sputum sample? What's that? Mow I knew what a urine sample 
was but not a sputum. Thinking that maybe it meant the other end, 
1 walked into the small lavatory in the corner of the room. After 
several attempts I refused to try any longer. I just couldn't, so I 
returned to the crinkly paper. 

The doctor returned and looked puzzeled at my empty beaker. I 
confessed, saying, "Sorry, I can't. I just did this morning." 

"What? Spit?" 

Linda H. Hahn 



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Three Generations 

By Gabe Hanson 

The old home place in West Tennessee sits on the end of a long, 
low ridge. Its pasture slopes down from the back yard. A creek 
divides the pasture and beyond it the town begins. From town the 
farmhouse looks like it's sitting on top of a hill, so folks named it 
Tidwell Hill after my family. The place has been in the family about 
seventy years. First my grandparents had it, then my cousin. 

I pulled in there one afternoon not many years ago with my wife 
and kids on a visit. The place was already swarming with kinfolk but 
my daddy and 1 strolled off by ourselves, making small talk and 
sorta getting reacquainted. We ventured into the pasture a way and 
my daddy stopped and said, 1 was right here when it started. It was 
a hot, sunny day in the springtime. I must' a been seven, a regular 
little barefoot boy with his raggedy britches held up with a piece of 
binder twine. 

Well now, thinks I, this is going to be amusing. Daddy is fixing to 
make a confession, by the look of him, and he can't help it, the past 
has fastened onto him so. He's already looking like a little kid again, 
gray hair and all. So let's give a listen, I tells myself and I needed the 
reminder, for his opening remarks had sent me on a memory trip 
of my own. I'd also stood in the pasture on such spring days, a little 
bareheaded city kid, feeling the sun heating my head through my 
topknot. And I'd smell the sweet smells of rambunctious growth on 
the breeze and the rank smell of the sun-warmed yellow clay that 
bore all the life. What a mixture! 

My daddy was saying, I happened to see a strange dog coming 
through the yard. It wjent for the pen of ewes and lambs that stood 
between me and the barn. It was a mighty sorry sort of stray, not 
above middling large size, just skin and bones and shaggy hair 
where the mange hadn't taken over. Still, the way it patrolled around 
the pen led me to believe I was watching a healthy, hungry wolf. 

I'll tell you, Tennessee was poor back then. Country people hadn't 
any lambs to spare. A stray dog, even off a neighbor's place, going 
after livestock' d get itself shot in short order and the folks thankful 
it'd been fool enough to show itself while there was daylight to sight 
it by. But this hound wasn't in mortal danger yet The menfolk were 
away planting cotton on the farm my daddy's daddy sharecropped 
and his mother wouldn't handle a gun. So she and the girls raised a 
fuss to frighten the stray and someone ran off to spread the news. 
The stray dog looked at them hopping around in the back yard so 
close by and he stopped his prowling along the fence and chose a 
spot by it and lay himself down and gaped wide and licked his 
chops and went back to studying the sheep. 



Daddy and his mamma went looking for their dog, Red. He was a 
big dog with long, red hair; must'a' been a setter. They found him 
denned in the cool dirt under the side porch of the house. He came 
out and went with them to the back yard but he paid them no mind 
when they sicced him on the stray. Instead he went back up under 
the house and stayed put. It gave Daddy the creeps to see his Red 
play the coward to another dog in his own yard. And rightly so. 
There lay the cur a stone's throw away acting proud of itself, like it 
was the lambs' best friend and guard and wouldn't let the noisy 
neighbor women and children distract it from its duty. 

The farm my granddaddy sharecropped wasn't but a mile down 
the road but on days when he was in the fields, he never showed up 
at home till after dark His notion of a dinner hour was to pull a 
sandwich out of his jacket and eat it with one hand while keeping 
on down the row; never mind that he'd been working since first light 
and wouldn't quit till dark heedless to tell, he worked his hired 
hands just as hard. But this day, for the sake of his sheep, when 
dinnertime came, he went home. He left his oldest son out there 
and brought his middle son and a town boy about his age — the 
town boy probably just to feed, since he was a starveling often in 
need of my grandparents' vittles. So the three of them had a quick 
look at the strayed dog and went in the house and had dinner; and I 
expect the rest of the crew on the farm enjoyed themselves a 
furlough. 

Soon as they'd eaten the father sent the town boy into town in the 
flivver to see if he could find anyone to claim the strayed dog. (I just 
remember that boy's name. It was Moses MacManus; I met him 
once. He was back for a visit, his first in about thirty years, I reckon, 
and he stopped by the farm. He'd lost his boy in Korea not long 
before. He had a smile that day that told it all.) I don't know if the 
boss-man sent into town to soothe his wife's feelings — she was in 
the SPCA and temperance society and every other conscientious 
outfit around — but it was a shilly-shally thing to do, even though 
the town was so near and easy to canvas, being mostly a few dirt 
streets on the wrong side of the Illinois Central Railroad tracts, and it 
brought him trouble. Two no-accounts looking to have some fun at 
a dog's expense rode back with Moses, both armed. The one fellow 
worked at the gas station, the other made his living selling whisky 
on Saturday nights. Prohibition gave him his chance in life. Come to 
think of it, Obion County is dry to this day ... So with the neighbor 
girls and their younguns, there was a big get-together. 

Granddaddy had to raise his voice to make himself heard. This 
ain't no Sunday-school picnic, he said, at which the women took 
fright and went to shut their little ones in the house away from the 



shooting and the little ones scooted away and the rest chased after 
them, while Granddaddy offered the moonshiner and the mechanic 
a drink if they'd go sit in the swing while he shot the dog. Of course 
they wouldn't be bought off, they were out for glory. So he talked to 
them while the womenfolk were getting their children shut indoors. 
Shooting a dog, not sheep or each other, was the likely gist of his 
remarks. 

My daddy won permission to stay in the back yard with Moses 
where he could see the action up close, which was his reward for 
keeping his eye on the strayed dog part of the morning and into the 
afternoon. So he watched his father march off, an infantry at either 
shoulder and his teen-age son a step behind carrying a spade, the 
quartermaster corps. Daddy said he noticed all of a sudden how 
quiet it'd gotten. The breeze had died down; the sheep were used to 
their mangy buddy by then; the men weren't saying anything; the 
grass wasn't talking to their shoes; and the sun lay real quiet on 
their hats (the father's would' a' been a fedora, that's what he always 
wore, or the remnants of one) and on their rifle barrels. 

Daddy was watching the dog watch the men close in on him. It 
got up with a lurch and bobbed its head and Daddy's heart jumped 
into his mouth. The dog was standing its ground, making no sound 
that he could hear, panting fast. The men wanted to head it out to 
the pature but it wouldn't go. When they were almost treading on it, 
it finally wheeled and trotted away, but not far. They followed right 
behind it and Granddaddy was warning it off and waggling his rifle 
at it. 

Mow that man was no hunter; he wouldn't even fish; he'd never 
lopped a balky mule's ear with his whip, like plenty of farmers and 
mule skinners did; he'd never even cut a hog's throat. To kill hogs, 
that's what he'd bought the single-shot .22 rifle that he was carrying 
for. He figured a bullet in the brain was painless for a hog and 
bleeding to death wasn't. The other farmers said he risked the 
blood not draining freely and spoiling the meat. With all that against 
him, if he hadn't had such a frightful appetite for work and hadn't 
been the best mule skinner, too, that anyone knew of, he might'a' 
lost his standing in the community. And that meant more to him 
than money. 

It was clear to me, as my daddy Jold it, that that ugly stray dog 
had won him over. He knew it wouldn't run; knew it would get shot; 
knew that was right and needful but just couldn't reconcile himself 
to it. Hadn't reconciled himself to it all those years later. Run, you 
old dog, he was thinking. Go on, git! Just think how he must'a' 
flinched when he saw his daddy's gun barrel jump, heard the 
popping of that powder. 



The dog humped its back and started off at a pretty good clip, 
slanting away from the firing squad; and caught some more lead 
and changed direction again, rifles still popping; then finally went 
down. Whoops, its legs start thrashing, he's up and slewing around 
and the moonshiner and the gas station fellow are cussing in 
panicky voices and back in the yard Moses is grinding his teeth and 
Daddy has gone white in the face and staring. Pop! pop! pop! and 
the dog is dragging his hind legs, not a sound from him, hardly 
progressing, but heading back toward the penned ewes and lambs 
now and the teenage son is sitting on the pasture grass and the 
town boys are dangling their rifles trying to breathe and granddaddy 
gets another round into the chamber and sidles up to the dog and 
pulls back the hammer and puts the muzzle where it's nearly 
touching the dog's head and pulls the trigger and the dog is flat 
now but he's kicking and the man studies it before he turns his back 
to it, his head still down. He looked at his boy and said, give me the 
spade, son. And the sun was making the sky like white hot brass. 

I could see that my daddy still blamed his father. Blame him one 
minute, worship him the next, must'a' been his way for a long time 
afterward. He ran away from home when he was twelve, rode the 
rods to California and back when the Depression struck and took 
off for good when he finished college. He had a hardware-chain job 
in Knoxville, clear across the state, when I came along, his elder son; 
then he became an officer in the Navy during World War Two, had 
a destroyer escort sunk right out from under him by a Jap bomber 
and wasn't I the proudest little boy in the whole school! And so on. 
But he'd fight with his daddy, run away, come back, then do 
something he'd get a whipping for and go off again. He didn't make 
peace with Grandaddy until he had it clear in his own mind that 
there was no chance he'd ever be a farmer. 

So I asked him, just to see if he'd catch on to himself, you don't 
blame your father for that dog's death, do you? Oh no, he said, it 
was just my daddy's bad luck that old dog took so much killing. 
Why I remember the moonshiner was telling it around that your 
granddaddy finally resorted to a silver bullet to kill the dog, proving 
it was a werewolf. And even while he explained himself to me, I saw 
the uneasy shadow in his eyes. 

Being two different generations of men, they didn't see things the 
same. My granddaddy was a real old-timer, a Johnny Reb's son. He 
took no pleasure from slaughtering hogs but how he relished their 
flesh! He always cured the finest Tennessee country hams and 
bacon, even after he got too old to farm. So you see, having to 
slaughter his meat didn't spoil his appetite. While my daddy loves 
his ham, too — though he doesn't carry on over it like his daddy 
did — he probably couldn't eat pork he'd slaughtered. We're a later 
breed still and still more squeamish about such things, I believe. 



And I wonder how we'd'a' handled a dog like that one. It acted 
like a regular Russian of a dog — like that mad-monk Rasputin that 
wouldn't leave the women alone and wouldn't die when the 
husbands went to kill him until he made them kill him ten times 
over just to revenge himself on them. See there, I'm making the 
dog out to be an evil force; but it wasn't anything but a creature that 
hard luck drove to desperation. It's the way you see things that 
counts. Some folks'd think, I'm nice, this world's a nice place and 
that's a nice doggie; they'd lose a few lambs. Other folks'd think, 
that aint's no dog, it's another Adolf Hitler and they'd declare 
another World War Two on it and some innocent bystanders' d get 
shot along with some sheep. It was his sense of duty that carried 
my grandfather through. He was killing the strayed dog as a duty 
and so he could kill it and pity it at the same time. 

The habit of duty was my grandfather's mainstay but he had 
other resources besides, ceremony for instance. You never saw a 
more ceremonious man. Plenty of men will just naturally add a 
touch or two of ceremony to the laying of a fire on their hearths but 
my granddaddy put so much ceremony into it, when he'd go to 
warm up his parlor after supper, that a holy hush would settle on us 
young'uns and we'd sit there and watch that fire burn in reverent 
awe. He'd express his satisfaction and settle himself in his chair and 
light his pipe and before long you'd see his pipe fall in his lap and 
he'd be sleeping like a baby. He was an old man by then, of course. 

So after he shot that stray dog, he gave it funeral rites. He carried 
it away over to the creek bank and plied his spade in the earth till 
he had a deep hole. He buried it better than he had to and 
sacrificed another half-hour or more of daylight that he needed for 
the cotton-planting to do it. It was like he had to make up for the 
killing he'd done. 

His actions were all of a piece and somehow it all grew from or 
connected with the way he practiced his husbandry; with a sense of 
duty and a liberal view of nature and man, as if life and death were 
a team of mules pulling together in the traces, and the farmer had 
to keep them pulling evenly so they shared the work.